Parents were taken aback when school friends Eloise Bosworth, 11, and Scarlett Dineley, 12, of Lytham, decided to scrap their Santa wish list for Christmas – and donate gifts for young carers in Blackpool instead.
The girls, who both attend AKS School, Lytham, decided they had everything they needed and it was time to help others who might not be so fortunate.
Eloise hit on the idea last month after presenting parents Mark and Michelle with a wish list which had very little on it other than make up, a book and some trainers for school.
Mark recalls: “I asked her to think if there was anything else she wanted and she took the list to her bedroom. She emerged later saying there was nothing she needed and she wanted to maybe give some money to people who needed it more than her.
“We were both surprised and told her to think about it. But then mum did some research.”
Michelle is actively involved with Fylde Soroptimists and recalled a talk to members by Blackpool Carers Centre chief executive Michelle Smith. She’s also come across the charity while fundraising.
Eloise loved the idea of helping young carers enjoy a happier Christmas – and so did her friend Scarlett, also of Lytham.
Mark added: “We set aside the money we planned to spend on Eloise for Christmas so she could buy presents for the young carers instead. Scarlett went to Morrisons and purchased a bag full of gifts too – and Morrisons generously added some money to the pot.
“The girls loved going to Beaverbrooks House to meet the team. They haven’t made a big deal of it since or had second thoughts about their own presents.. It’s a genuinely heartfelt gesture.
"It's touched us all - and shows real awareness of young carers and what they may go through."
“We have refrained from buying any presents additionally for Eloise but she will still get some from family and Michelle runs a cleaning company and a couple of her clients are aware of what Eloise chose to do and have given her some small gifts.
“This is something that Eloise and Scarlett have done very much themselves. I’m glad they did. I don’t mind admitting that I had a tear in my eye when I heard of what young carers do and talked to Liam Quinn who’s an ambassador for the charity and a former carer himself.
“AKS is also extremely supportive of local initiatives and fundraising.
“The girls both know carers of various ages but this made them very aware of just what caring means and the varied roles carers play. Eloise has a friend at school who only now she realises is a carer and Scarlett recently lost her grandmother after a long illness where they all looked after as her health deteriorated.
“Scarlett has been involved in The Round Square organisation which has this year been trying to address some local, national and international issues such as loneliness in in older – and younger – people.
“They are both very caring, incredibly thoughtful young women, and both families are proud, yes, but we are also humbled by what carers – and everyone at the charity – do.”
The surprise donation has been hailed an extraordinary act of generosity by Faye Atherton, head of services at Blackpool Carers Centre.
“It’s a lovely thing to do. It’s touched us all. It also shows real awareness of young carers and what they may go through and it’s happened at a time when we’re asking schools to support Young Carers Awareness Day on January 25.
“These girls are already great ambassadors.”
- Blackpool Carers Centre, currently the Mayor’s Charity of the Year, is urging local schools to support a Super Snap competition in celebration of Young Carers’ Awareness Day on Thursday January 25. Schools are asked to feature one of three ‘dress up’ themes on the day: dress to impress, superheroes or hats off to young carers. Pupils could give a minimum suggested donation of £1 to enter.
- Each school will post their pictures on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #YCADSuperSnap. These will be promoted by the carers’ centre and Blackpool Mayor Coun Ian Coleman’s charity committee to raise awareness of young carers.
- The most creative/imaginative photograph will be chosen on Wednesday January 31 by Blackpool Carers Centre staff and Rocco, the carers’ mascot. The Mayor and Rocco will visit the winning school on Friday February 2 to present the YCAD Schools’ Super Snap Competition 2018 trophy. The winning photograph will be displayed on the charity’s website and in the March edition of the charity’s print and online Caring Times magazine.
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